I’m sitting in the Miami Airport on my return home. A team from Central Washington University Chi Alpha Ministries spent the past two weeks in Tricotte, Haiti. David Morley from Blaine, Washington, joined us and helped me with the team leadership responsibilities. The team spent every afternoon at the Starfish Ministries Orphanage teaching English to the orphans. It is so exciting to see these kids eager to learn and then practice with me as I interact with them.
The team also did some painting at the orphanage, presented the gospel through song, testimony and drama in some of our schools and churches and played soccer and other games with the Tricotte village kids. And that’s where they met Wilson. Wilson seemed to be around wherever the team was. When they hiked to our school in Biscaille to share with the students, Wilson was right by their side, hiking along and helping at the more difficult places on the trail. Then when they arrived in Biscaille, Wilson climbed up a coconut tree and threw down enough coconuts for the entire team to enjoy fresh coconut milk.
I met Wilson after he reinjured himself while playing soccer. It seems he had cut his finger with a machete while helping his family cut wood for their cooking fire. And now it had been hurt again so Dr. Bernie was visited. While treating Wilson’s thumb nail I questioned him about his life through an interpreter. And this is what I learned.
Wilson is 14 years old and the youngest of 10 children. They live in the village of Belaire which is up the mountain about 30 minutes from Tricotte. Wilson’s mother died several years ago and then in 2009 his father fell, injured his leg and, because he had no opportunity for medical care, he is handicapped. And Wilson has never had the opportunity to go to school because his father can’t afford tuition. A couple of our team members had developed a relationship with him, their hearts were touched with his need, and are beginning to sponsor Wilson.
There is no school in Belaire, and the nearest is Tricotte; so in September Wilson will start the first grade in our Tricotte School. We have also hired a tutor for Wilson to work with him during the summer prior to the opening of school this fall. It won’t be easy for a 14 year old boy to start school and I questioned him about that. He said he was okay with being in the same class as six and seven year olds. Wilson was very appreciative and assured me that he would work hard to be successful in his educational experience. And we pray that Wilson will soon become a Christian. That is our goal for all our school children – to reach them with the gospel of Jesus Christ and help them to grow to serve Him.
Our school directors, Norius and Duvigno, have shared with us that some of our villages are so poor and during summer vacation from school many of the children go hungry. So these two directors volunteered to start a summer club program in two of our poorest villages this summer. During July and August they will be having a VBS type teaching time along with crafts and games in Morne-Chaise and Ti-David. And it will be scheduled around the lunch hour so these hungry kids will have a hot meal four days per week. We really appreciate our dedicated workers who are sensitive to the needs of our kids and are willing to volunteer their time during the summer to help meet those needs.
This summer ministry is outside our current budget so if any of you would like to help with a little extra the next couple of months it would be helpful.
Again we certainly do appreciate you, our faithful partners in prayer and financial support. Please continue to pray for our Haitian leadership – we thank God for these leaders as they serve in many difficult areas of ministry.
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp